TOP Energy Training: Frequently Asked Questions


Who oversees TOP Energy Training?

The consortium of TOP Energy Training is led by a principal investigator at each of the three participating universities:

  • Jim Ladlee (Penn State)
  • Dr. Hilary Olson (The University of Texas at Austin )
  • Dr. Linda Battalora (Colorado School of Mines)

Who sponsored the creation of the online courses?

The initial development of the online curriculum was part of our flagship training program for oil and gas inspectors, TOPCORP. These first courses were funded by a gift from ExxonMobil and General Electric to Colorado School of Mines, The Pennsylvania State University, and The University of Texas at Austin. Ongoing funding for course updates and new curriculum has been provided by gifts to the three universities from ExxonMobil, Baker Hughes General Electric, the Environmental Defense Fund, American Petroleum Institute, Apache, Chevron, Encana, Noble, Occidental, Seneca, and the Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation. The three universities designate a 'gift' when there are no specific required deliverables, no memoranda of agreement, nor any contracts as part of the funds transferred to the university.


Who selects the curriculum and ensures the content is balanced in approach?

The online course curriculum is chosen by university faculty and researchers at the three different universities, including those with expertise in environmental sciences, groundwater and surface water management, hydrogeology, structural geology, geomechanics, petroleum geology, reservoir engineering, drilling engineering, chemical engineering, petroleum engineering, geophysics, and technical communications. Using feedback from surveys and pilot classes, we have designed and created online courses for oil and gas professionals, focusing on the fundamental technology, science, and engineering of oil and gas operations.


What role do funding corporations or other entities have in setting the detailed curriculum content?

None, the detailed online course curriculum is at the sole discretion of the three universities (principal investigators and instructors).


What other groups, agencies or companies are working with TOP Energy Training?

The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) has worked with us on curriculum selection to ensure our training meets the needs of state regulatory agencies who oversee oil and gas operations throughout the United States, as well as their sister provincial agencies in Canada. Educators at the three universities are still the main inspiration for all elements of TOP Energy Training.

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